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White Collar Crimes and Criminals

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1988
27 pages
To illustrate the nature and salient dimensions of white collar crime, this study compared fiscal 1976 through 1978 data for two categories of common crime (postal theft and postal forgery) and eight categories of white collar crime (antitrust offenses, securities fraud, mail fraud, false claims, credit fraud, bribery, tax fraud, and bank embezzlement).
Compared to common crimes, white collar crimes were more likely to victimize organizations than individuals, involve a larger number of offenders, exhibit a clearly defined pattern, and have a longer duration. Characteristics of white collar offenders also differed. These offenders were more likely to be employed, better educated, own homes, have less prior criminal justice involvement, and be white males. In addition, white collar crimes were more complex, requiring more planning and organization. A comparison of white collar crimes reveals that they also show distinct variations in offender profiles, patterns of victimization, and offense characteristics. Finally, in white collar crimes, offender status and prestige, age, race, and sex correspond to differences in the nature and consequences of the crime. Within the general category of Federal white collar crimes there is a clear hierarchy of crimes that corresponds with the characteristics of those who commit them, with most antitrust and security fraud offenses at the top of the hierarchy and most false claims, credit fraud, and bank embezzlement at the bottom. 7 tables and 47 footnotes.

Date Published: January 1, 1988